TODAY SCHEDULE AS OF 9:00 am (all times ET):
—6:00 am: Polls open in Virginia —7:50 am: Sen. John Edwards visits a polling place at Fairlington Community Center, Arlington, Va. —8:00 am: Polls open in Tennessee —9:00 am: Off-camera press gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —9:00 am: Sen. John Kerry greets voters at a polling place with Rep. Harold Ford Jr., Memphis, Tenn. —9:30 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —10:00 am: Former chief weapons inspector in Iraq David Kay address the U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C. —10:15 am: Gov. Howard Dean tours and attends a town hall meeting at Superior Middle School, Superior, Wis. —10:35 am: President Bush meets with economic leaders, the White House —11:00 am: Gen. Wesley Clark attends a campaign event, Nashville, Tenn. —12:00 pm: Rep. Dennis Kucinich speaks to the press at the Nashville/Briley International Airport, Nashville, Tenn. —12:15 pm: On-camera press briefing by Press Secretary McClellan —12:20 pm: Rep. Kucinich stops at Jefferson Street United Merchant's Partnership, Nashville, Tenn. —12:30 pm: House of Representatives convenes for legislative business —1:00 pm: Politics Live on ABC News Live and AOL —1:00 pm: Rep. Kucinich visits J-J's Market & Cafe, Nashville, Tenn. —2:15 pm: Gov. Dean visits Longfellow Middle School, La Crosse, Wis. —4:30 pm: Sen. Kerry greets voters at Robinson High School, Fairfax, Va. —5:00 pm: Republican Caucus, Washington, D.C. —6:00 pm: Oklahoma State Democratic Party certifies the results of the Feb. 3 primary —6:30 pm: Rep. Kucinich visits the Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Atlanta, Ga. —6:45 pm: Gov. Dean attends a rally at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis. —7:00 pm: Polls close in Virginia —7:00 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a rally at Georgia Tech College of Architecture, Atlanta, Ga. —7:00 pm: Gov. Dean attends a rally, Milwaukee, Wis. —7:00 pm: Gen. Clark attends an election night party at the Marriott Hotel, Memphis, Tenn. —7:10 pm: Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at the American Enterprise Institute Annual Dinner, Washington Hilton and Towers, Washington, D.C. —8:00 pm: Polls close in Tennessee —8:00 pm: Sen. Kerry attends an election night party at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. —8:00 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a concert fundraiser at Eddie's Attic, Decatur, Ga. —8:30 pm: Sen. Edwards attends an election night party at the American Serb Hall, Milwaukee, Wis.
The first version published of yesterday's Note included what was intended as a SATIRICAL report of a fictional ABC News/Washington Post poll. No such poll was conducted. The questions and results listed were not from a real poll.
But on this day when John Kerry has a chance for wins in Tennessee and/or Virginia that just might get the Southern monkey off of his back -- and take an opponent out of the race -- and after two full news cycles in which Kerry's transient upper hand over President Bush doesn't seem to have been removed by the "Meet" appearance -- on this day, let us tell you again what we tried to say yesterday.
Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections.
They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are "conservative positions."
They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don't have a negative affect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories.
More systematically, the press believes that fluid narratives in coverage are better than static storylines; that new things are more interesting than old things; that close races are preferable to loose ones; and that incumbents are destined for dethroning, somehow.
The press, by and large, does not accept President Bush's justifications for the Iraq war -- in any of its WMD, imminent threat, or evil-doer formulations. It does not understand how educated, sensible people could possibly be wary of multilateral institutions or friendly, sophisticated European allies.
It does not accept the proposition that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy by stimulating summer spending.
It remains fixated on the unemployment rate.
It believes President Bush is "walking a fine line" with regards to the gay marriage issue, choosing between "tolerance" and his "right-wing base."
It still has a hard time understanding how, despite the drumbeat of conservative grass-top complaints about overspending and deficits, President Bush's base remains extremely and loyally devoted to him -- and it looks for every opportunity to find cracks in that base.
Of course, the swirling Joe Wilson and National Guard stories play right to the press's scandal bias -- not to mention the bias towards process stories (grand juries produce ENDLESS process!).
The worldview of the dominant media can be seen in every frame of video and every print word choice that is currently being produced about the presidential race.
That means the President's communications advisers have a choice:
Try to change the storyline and the press' attitude, or try to win this election without changing them.
So we ask again: What's it going to be, Ken, Karen, Mary, Terry, Nicole, and Dan?
That's quite a headline in the Los Angeles Times: "Bush Supports Shift of Jobs Overseas." LINK
And the Washington Post story filled with quotes from Republican-leaning business people who have politically soured on the President is quite striking. LINK
As is the Wall Street Journal piece despoiling the Medicare reform law before it event takes effect.
On the strength of all the negative coverage of the President and all his own positive coverage, Sen. Kerry heads into today's twin primaries on a roll.
Polls in Tennessee, where 69 pledged delegates are at stake, open at 8:00 am ET and close at 8:00 pm ET. Numbers will start to become available at 8:00 pm ET on the state board of elections Web site: LINK
Polls in Virginia, where 82 pledged delegates are at stake, open at 6:00 am ET and close at 7:00 pm ET. Numbers will start to become available at 7:00 pm ET on the state board of elections Web site: LINK
And as voters head to the polls, let's take a look at the delegate tote board, shall we?
John Kerry's huge victories in the Washington, Michigan, and Maine caucuses over the weekend allowed him to rack up the lion's share of the 228 delegates at stake.
Kerry has now collected 20 percent of the 2,161 delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.
Kerry is way out in front in the ABC News delegate estimate with 430 overall delegates.
The Massachusetts Senator has nearly two and a half times as many delegates than Howard Dean who places second in our estimate with 179 delegates. This total includes both pledged delegates who are allocated according to their home state's primary and caucus results as well as "unpledged" delegates, known as "superdelegates," made up of state party leaders and activists, Democratic governors, members of congress, former presidents, vice-presidents, and national party chairmen.
Two of the delegates up for grabs in Maine have yet to be allocated (and are NOT reflected) as we await final vote tallies from the Maine Democratic Party.
Here are the current totals in the ABC News Delegate Estimate.
There is, of course, great interest in when and if Howard Dean, John Edwards, and/or Wes Clark will end their presidential campaigns if they don't start winning against John Kerry.
Here's why saying when people might drop out -- and how to interpret their posturing statements -- is tough:
All three campaigns realize that there are only two ways to beat Kerry now:
1. He suffers some huge scandal that makes him appear to be an unacceptable nominee -- or, at least, severely crippled and un-electable-looking.
2. (Less likely): One of the other candidates remains the last man standing and takes advantage of buyer's remorse to beat (or get close to) Kerry in contests after Wisconsin.
Kerry is getting more attention in these states with primaries and caucuses BECAUSE there are pseudo-contests, so his campaign isn't aggressively trying to force people out of the race. In addition, because no one is running negative ads against Kerry -- and the candidate attacks are mild -- the party and the Kerry campaign aren't desperate to get them out, either.
So, say, Kerry wins both Tennessee and Virginia. That could well drive Clark from the race. But that would still leave, potentially, Dean and Edwards to battle in Wisconsin.
As we said the other day, multiple opponents are good for Kerry, because he can win without facing head-to-head scrutiny.
So it is sort of a game of chicken, as, in particular, Dean and Edwards try to maintain enough credibility to hold on and get Kerry one-on-one for at least one day of contests. And if Kerry might be considering Edwards as his running mate, the exposure the North Carolinian will get in the upcoming states (especially the big Super Tuesday ones) will be good for the ticket.
Since no one has enough money to buy "real" paid TV on Super Tuesday anyway, cash money becomes less of an issue.
So hold off just a bit on the Bush-Kerry thing, will ya?
WE HEAR …WE HEAR …
That a certain network's Sunday morning anchor with a long name and a knack for politics is celebrating his 43rd birthday today.
Sen. Kerry is in Virginia.
Sen. Edwards is in Virginia and Wisconsin.
Gov. Dean is in Wisconsin.
Gen. Clark is in Tennessee.
Rep. Kucinich is in Tennessee and Georgia.
President Bush is in Washington, D.C. today.
Vice President Cheney is in D.C. as well, and will speak tonight at the American Enterprise Institute dinner at the Washington Hilton.
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
The Boston Globe's Robinson reports on two new documents obtained by the Globe that show that "President Bush received credit for attending Air National Guard drills in the fall of 1972 and spring of 1973 -- a period when his commanders have said he did not appear for duty at bases in Montgomery, Ala., and Houston."
The documents, which the White House will make public today, are the "first evidence" that President Bush served during the first 11 months of that period, Robinson Notes. LINK
The Washington Post's Romano reports that the Defense Department has requested that President Bush's payroll records from his service in the National Guard be sent to Washington so that they might be released to news organizations and public interest groups that have formally asked for them. LINK
Salon's Boehlert looks at the military records that the President has not released -- "Bush's medical military records, for instance, have never been released to the general public. Nor have any disciplinary reviews, pay stubs, tax records, or personal letters, which would help determine his exact whereabouts in 1972-73." LINK
Richard Cohen thinks that President Bush hasn't told the truth about his Guard service. LINK
The New York Times' David Johnston adds Scott McLellan and Adam Levine to the list of those who have appeared before the grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a CIA. officer, writing that these appearances "reflected what lawyers in the case said was the quickening pace of a criminal inquiry in which a special prosecutor is examining conversations between journalists and the White House." LINK
Johnston's process fixation warms the heart of the Gang of 500.
And the Washington Post's Allen and Schmidt add Mary Matalin to the same list. LINK
The New York Times' Philip Shenon reports that 9/11 commission members warned the White House it could face a "politically damaging subpoena" if it fails turn to turn over pre-9/11 classified Oval Office intelligence. LINK
President Bush was in Missouri yesterday for a conversation about the economy, to boost support for his tax cuts and defend his economic policies against the Democrats attacks. The event was billed as an official event, not a campaign appearance, but it marked the third state that the President has visited within days of a Democratic primary (after New Hampshire and South Carolina). LINK
The Democrats are starting to complain about President Bush's "official" trips to primary states, what the DNC called "taxpayer-financed campaigning," reports Ed Chen. But Karl Rove never complained about the Gore trips, and we say: fair is fair. LINK
Bush-Cheney '04 campaign manager Ken Mehlman hosted an online chat "A Tough Road Ahead," on the campaign's Web site last evening. The questions gave Mehlman the opportunity to lay out some of the key issues for the campaign, including Iraq, national security, tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, and immigration.
Responding to a question that asks if it is a mistake for the Democratic candidates to base the election on "what they perceive as disdain or hatred for our President," Mehlman said that the Democrats and Republicans should be able to disagree without making personal attacks.
"For instance, we honor Senator Kerry's patriotic service during the Vietnam war. Yet we question the judgments of his votes to consistently cut defense and intelligence funding, his vote against the first Gulf War, and his recently stated belief that the war on terror is primarily about law enforcement and intelligence," Mehlman said. "Unfortunately, instead of debating those issues, some on the other side have attacked the President personally, comparing his service in the National Guard to those Americans who dodged the draft. This is wrong. We need to debate issues without personal attacks."
Full transcript of the chat: LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Anderson quotes Mehlman as he reports on the White House strategy against presumed nominee John Kerry.
Do Note the hesitation some in the White House feel now that candidates, even the President, have to stand by their ads -- even the negative ones . . . LINK
Some might see a little breathing room for the President in the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll -- his job approval rating improved from an all-time low of 49 percent a week ago to 52 percent now. But there's that whole MOE thing.
And if the election were held today, President Bush led Sen. Kerry 49 percent to 48 percent, a statistical tie. LINK
Outsourcing factory jobs and white-collar work overseas will be good in the long-term for the American economy even if it causes "short-term pain and dislocation," the chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors said yesterday with the release of the President's annual report to Congress on the economy. LINK
The New York Times' Pear and Stevenson report that President Bush has declared the economy is gaining strength, providing a "benchmark that the president and his critics can use to measure the performance of the election-year economy." LINK
USA Today's Benedetto and Despeignes report on the President's prediction that the U.S. economy will create 2.6 million jobs this year, calling it "politically risky."
"If most of the jobs materialize before the November election, Bush would be able to point to the marked improvement in making his case for re-election. But if they don't, that will provide ammunition to Democrats who say the president's economic stewardship is a failure." LINK
The New York Times' Wald reports that according to one of the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, "President Bush was probably wrong when he asserted in his 2002 State of the Union address that American forces routing guerrillas of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan had found designs for nuclear power plants." LINK
In his White House Notebook, the Washington Post's Milbank looks at whether Vice President Cheney is a "liability" for the President, sparking speculation among "the chattering class" about whether he will remain on the ticket in the fall. Madness. LINK
The New York Times' editorial board again reminds the Gray Lady's readers just how unimpressed it was with the President's Sunday ayem appearance: "None of what we heard made much sense." (Note the return of the phrase "'fuzzy math!'") LINK
The New York Times' David Brooks ponders what Bush might have said on "Meet the Press" if he had a silver tongue. LINK
Washington Post's E.J. Dionne thinks that "while Bush is determined not to repeat the mistakes his father made 12 years ago, he is in the process of repeating, almost precisely, the first Bush administration's fatal mistake." LINK
Recently there has been more criticism of President Bush from conservative columnists, radio hosts and television commentators, New York Times' Rutenberg reports. LINK
Case in point: Bill O'Reilly on "Good Morning America" this morning, talking about the Administration and Iraq: "I am much more skeptical of the Bush Administration now than I was at that time." Then he took a swipe at George Tenet.
The New York Times' Marquis discusses Bush's "wartime president" statement and the President's efforts to avoid looking like LBJ standing over Vietnam maps. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip writes of the White House's "optimistic forecast" that the U.S. economy will create 2.6 million jobs this year, a figure which "would erase the entire loss of jobs since President Bush took office."
The Washington Post's Weisman writes that "Wading into an election-year debate, President Bush's top economist yesterday said the outsourcing of U.S. service jobs to workers overseas is good for the nation's economy." LINK
Paul Krugman thinks President Bush's "recent cheerfulness" reacting to jobs reports "seems almost surreal." LINK
Clinton's assistant secretary of commerce thinks that this time, deficits do matter. LINK
ABC 2004: The Democratic nomination fight:
The Washington Post's Dan Balz Notes that the loser of the Tennessee Edwards/Clark "head-to-head competition will find few options to revitalize his candidacy in the days ahead." LINK
The New York Times' Nagourney reports that if Clark and Edwards do not win in Virginia or Tennessee tonight they would be under tremendous pressure to quit. Or at least that is what the head of Tennessee's Democratic Party says. The Edwards camp says "not so fast." LINK
Remind us again why Tennessee and Virginia party leaders and academics get to decide who should leave the race in FUTURE states?
The Boston Globe's Joanna Weiss writes about the pack working hard on their (delegate) math homework to make sure Kerry doesn't kill the curve. LINK
The Washington Post's John Harris reports that in "a day of surprising about-faces," Dean asserted that he would stay in the race even if he didn't win the Wisconsin primary, a decision that "alters the complexion of the Wisconsin race, and potentially of the next several weeks of the Democratic nominating contest." LINK
The Boston Globe's Johnson recounts Dean's post-Wisconsin vision shift. LINK
The Boston Globe's Alex Beam has harsh words for Deaniacs: "Game over, webheads." LINK
The Boston Globe's Oliphant contemplates what he sees as the inevitable Kerry-Edwards ticket. LINK
Hey Macker! The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos plays devil's advocate in the front loaded primary season debate. LINK
By the way, Mr. Chairman, we hear that a certain former President and First-Lady-turned-Senator had a whale of a time at your birthday party yesterday.
The AP's Spagat reports on MSNBC's Joe Trippi advising the Dean campaign to not give up its e-mail lists to the DNC. LINK
The AP's Glenn Adams has a post mortem for the Maine caucuses that saw a whole lot of people come out. LINK
Stevenson Swanson of the Chicago Tribune reports on the expectations game for candidate wives. LINK
Cool these guys are not. The Washington Times' Jennifer Harper writes up the VH1 "Presidential Pop Culture Quiz" airing tonight. The highlights: Grateful Dead fan Howard Dean is down with Lauryn Hill, Wesley Clark digs hanging with Madonna, and thank God they can all correctly identify The Boss -- and we're not talking Tony Danza. We're wondering, however, if The General's answer on Justin Timberlake still holds now that we're living in a world of post-wardrobe malfunction. LINK
Carl Hulse Notes Lieberman's and Gephardt's returns to Capitol Hill and Elisabeth Bumiller reports on the Republicans' "Don't knock the Guard" strategy. LINK
The Note on This Week:
President Bush is setting the pace as This Week and the Note look ahead to the most expensive election ever in political history.
President Bush is leading the pack, with his campaign collecting $130 million last year -- roughly the same tally as all the Democratic contenders combined. The Bush team has at least $100 million in its coffers and should raise another $50 million by the time the Republicans meet in New York this September.
These numbers have had Democrats scared to death as they know the President will be ready to spend in key states starting very soon. Democrats remember what happened to the last man to challenge an incumbent: Bob Dole. Dole was broke by the end of his primary season and President Clinton buried him with a barrage of ads before that summer's political conventions.
For their part, GOP officials have been warning reporters for months that the Dems' cry of poor is not to be believed. And it seems they have a point, thanks to John Kerry's decision late last year to turn down public financing and take out a $6.4 million mortgage on his Boston home.
So far the move has paid off, and now the Senator, like the President, faces no legal limit on what he might raise and spend this cycle. As one top Democratic fundraiser told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, "that changes the whole ball game."
Instead of facing depleted bank accounts and fundraising barriers, the Kerry team can now return to the donors who gave to the other Democrats this year -- that's a $100 million pot -- and Democratic fundraisers estimate that Kerry can pull in $40-50 from these party givers, especially if Kerry can tap into the anti-Bush movement Howard Dean so successfully corralled online.
Kerry also has access to three more potential honey pots. The formerly Gephardt-backing unions in the Alliance for Economic Justice are poised to back Kerry as early as this week and labor is prepared to spend at least $60 million to get out the vote.
This spending could be topped by new outside groups created since campaign finance legislation blocked soft-money contributions to the political parties. Led by billionaire George Soros and Democratic insiders such as former Clinton aide Harold Ickes, these groups are on track to raise at least $150 million. Republicans have cried foul and there are questions before the Federal Election Commission about what these groups legally can and cannot do.
Republicans have outside groups of their own of course. No one knows how much White House allied groups such as the NRA, Right to Life, and the groups represented by Shirley & Banister will spend.
One thing the GOP-leaning groups don't have Kerry's wild card: A half-billion dollar fortune from the Heinz empire controlled by Teresa Heinz Kerry. She can spend this money only if the effort is truly independent from her husband's campaign. And she says she will spend it only if her husband's honor is attacked.
It's difficult to imagine a campaign where this doesn't happen, but even if the Heinz fortune remains untouched, the money race could be tighter than expected.
The Boston Globe's Mishra writes about why voters may decide that the Southerners aren't quite what today's Southern states in the spotlight want. LINK
USA Today's Andrea Stone writes that Clark and Edwards "face potentially crippling blows" in tonight's primaries, which "they appear destined to lose." LINK
The Washington Post's Whoriskey and Rein Note Kerry's and Edwards' stumping and advertising in Virginia, and Clark's campaigning in Tennessee yesterday. LINK
Knight Ridder's Kuhnhenn and Hull wrap Monday as the candidates prepare for Tuesday, and they notice that Kerry isn't really paying much attention to Clark and Edwards. LINK
The AP's David Espo previews the day where Kerry looks for at least one Southern win and possibly a pair. LINK
Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times cites the latest Zogby tracking polls in Virginia and Tennessee in writing about Kerry's bid to attract Southern voters, and tosses in two priceless quotes from Mudcat.
"David 'Mudcat' Saunders, a pro-Edwards Democratic strategist bent on winning back the South for the Democratic Party, said in rural Virginia, 'Johnny will take a wire brush to John Kerry.'"
"He said winning Northern Virginia says nothing about the ability to win the Southern vote: 'Northern Virginia is a Boston suburb.'" LINK
The Orlando Sentinel's Tamara Lytle writes, "Tonight's results could signal the end of at least one candidacy, political observers said -- likely that of Clark, the retired four-star general from Arkansas." LINK
The St. Petersburg Times' Bill Adair writes about the importance of the day for Clark. LINK
Cox News Service's Scott Shepard writes that "Kerry and the Democratic Party are competing against a perception they don't really care about the South." LINK
The New York Times' Kit Seelye writes that with Kerry's expected win in Tennessee (against two Southerners), "Democrats are allowing themselves to think they might be able to move the state into the win column in November." LINK
The Nashville Tennessean's Bonna de la Cruz Notes Edwards' appeals to factory workers, Clark's claims to a Tennessee victory, and Kerry's need to win a Southern state. LINK
In Morrison, Tenn., a recently laid off factory worker sums up Edwards. "'He doesn't put you to side. He's got a way of making you feel like he fells what we hurt and that's impressive to me.'" LINK
Jeff Zeleny and Kristen Scharnberg with the Chicago Tribune Note relief at Kerry's visit to Memphis yesterday. LINK
The Knoxville News-Sentinel's Tom Humphrey reports on yesterday's rallies in Tennessee and the latest polls projecting today's primary outcome, with Kerry in first and Clark and Edwards fighting for second. LINK
Kary Booher of The Jackson Sun writes on the last-minute campaigning by the Dems in Tennessee. LINK
So does Bartholomew Sullivan of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. LINK
Larry Daughtrey of the Nashville Tennessean Notes the secret inside-list of what Dems REALLY need to win in Tennessee -- a blessing from a guy named Ned (who puts all other endorsements to shame) and plenty of barbecue, among others. LINK
Tyler Whitley of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports on the race in Virginia, where Kerry (unofficially) leads and all others follow. LINK
WHSV Notes that Virginia's rural areas, typically Republican, are filled with people "who don't like Bush." LINK
Craig Gilbert at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Notes that Kerry leads the latest Journal Sentinel/WTMJ-TV poll by 32 points, despite not having visited the state in eight months, only going on the air with ads on Friday, and having no endorsement higher than state legislator. That Mo' is powerful stuff. LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson and Jeff Zeleny report on Dean's change of heart regarding do-or-die Wisconsin. LINK
The New York Times' David Halbfinger sums up the union support Kerry now is lining up, including from those unions formerly behind Gephardt. LINK
The AP reports on records showing Kerry took "a small amount" of PAC money "during a race for the House three decades ago, and later collected more than $120,000 in speaking fees from companies and lobbying groups as a new senator." LINK
The League of Conservation Voters acknowledges getting money from a foundation controlled by Teresa Heinz Kerry but says that had nothing to do with its endorsement of her husband last month. LINK
Tom DeLay's recent fightin' words against John Kerry get a look from the Hill's Kaplan, who details the less-than-friendly exchanges between these two politicians. LINK
The Atlanta Journal Constitution states that a Kerry sweep in the South would help the Dems reclaim five state Senate seats lost there in '02. LINK
I knew the candidate when he used to rock and roll? Keying off of the Chris Martin endorsement, the Boston Globe's Beggy and Shanahan look into how much and how good of a rocker Kerry once was. LINK
ABC News' Kate Snow reports that John Kerry, in an airport avail, added the word "radical" to his use of "extreme" when describing the policies of the Bush Administration. We wonder if the Massachusetts Senator is reading the new anti-Bush book entitled, "The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America" by the Nation's Eric Alterman and Kerry's New York campaign co-chairman (and former mayoral candidate) Mark Green.
Kerry may not have much time for reading non-briefing materials on the campaign trail, but a reader need only make it to the second paragraph of the inside flap to reach the first reference of "radical" as a means to describe this White House.
The Viking-published tome (just hitting a bookstore near you) has been described as "Franken with footnotes" by those familiar with the project. The Note has also learned that within the last week Kerry staffers as well as the candidate have received a copy of the book to brush up on all things Bush should Kerry emerge the nominee.
From ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:
MEMPHIS, TENN., Feb. 9 -- Sen. Kerry spent the last three days in pursuit of the one prize that has eluded him thus far in this lopsided Democratic nomination contest: a win in the South.
Kerry sandwiched his two-state, six-city effort with trips to Nashville and Memphis, touching down in more familiar Virginia cities in between.
On Monday, Kerry arrived 23 minutes late to Fire Station One in Roanoke, Va. Four hundred and fifty supporters nestled between the Corporate Look Barbershop and the eldest fire station in Old Dominion to hear Kerry's "Real Deal" spiel.
In an interview with local television stations, Kerry was asked if he viewed Virginia as a way to "wrap up the nomination," and he replied, "That is way beyond my pay grade. I just keep campaigning and someday somebody will, you know, hopefully will take a count of the delegates and we've won the nomination…"
Flying further south, the Senator slogged through the Memphis rain late Monday, hustling into a raucous rally, accompanied by the district's favorite son, Rep. Harold Ford, Jr.
The Southern-accented Ford reminded folks (who probably didn't need reminding) that the lanky Bay Stater is from out of town.
"I just want to introduce you to someone who knows a little more about clam chowder than barbeque…I want to bring you someone who knows more about lobster than fried chicken," the young House member joked.
Kerry took the mic and opened with a similar zinger, reminding the swelling crowd that his New England Patriots won the Super Bowl and thus, according to Kerry, proving a New Englander could "go down to Texas and win."
Of course, the Patriots' win came at the price of the Tennessee Titans' 12-4 season; the hometown Titans were defeated 17-14 at Foxboro in the AFC Championship on the ever-reliable kicking leg of Adam Vinatieri.
Let's just say that "Bring it on" went over much better.
The Kerry campaign approaches Tuesday's contests in Virginia and Tennessee with cautious optimism. Dismissing any polls, even those that show him pulling away, Kerry will campaign in both states on Election Day, coming to a rest in Virginia to watch the returns.
Kerry remains on the air with ads in both states, including Democrat-heavy Northern Virginia, by advertising on pricey Washington, D.C.-based stations. Looking ahead, aides say Kerry will campaign in Nevada prior to the state's Valentine's Day primary, and that the campaign went up with ads statewide in Wisconsin on Sunday.
Most importantly, however, a Note update: the circa 1961 album featuring an 18-year-old Kerry's St. Paul's School band, "The Electras," sold on E-Bay early Monday morning for $2,551.00. Congrats "nopiccolo" -- feel free to give the Note a peek at those liner notes.
Read more from the trail with Kerry on abcnews.com: LINK
Mr. Archibold and Ms. Williams do their best Frank Bruni imitations today; who is the Reba Shimansky of the conservative side?
The New York Times' Archibold discusses the rhetorical abilities of John Edwards, "one of his party's most impassioned speakers." LINK
The Washington Post's Vanessa Williams Notes that Edwards "excels at personally connecting with and engaging voters" but has had trouble doing so since the race spread to multiple states. LINK
The Charlotte Observer's Anna Griffin feels that John Edwards still has several winning scenarios. LINK
Mark Johnson at the Charlotte Observer Notes that John Edwards has style. Carville again says that he's even better than Clinton on the stump. LINK
Eric Dyer from the Greensboro News and Record reports that Edwards will remain in the race beyond today, barring an unforeseen Godzilla attack. LINK
John Wagner with the Raleigh News Observer Notes that Edwards will continue the campaign "well into March." LINK
He also sees Edwards unwilling to concede foreign policy to Gen. Clark and Sen. Kerry. LINK
From ABC News' Edwards campaign reporter Gloria Riviera:
ALEXANDRIA, VA., Feb. 10 -- After waking up in Tennessee at the crack of dawn and being pulled from their Holiday Inn Express slumber to attend an early morning campaign event at Prater's Barbecue in Morrison, Tenn., the Edwards press corps was nothing if not anxious to make the most of what felt like a sunrise arrival event. As it turned out, it looked more than promising.
After all, this was a small town where a factory closure would soon erase an estimated 1,300 jobs from the community. Kathy George and her husband Randy had worked at United Technology for a combined total of 56 years. By spring, they have been told, they will both be out of jobs. The Georges have one daughter in college and a son in high school. They don't have any idea, they say, of what they might do next.
And so it was that Sen. Edwards made room in his schedule for a visit to Morrison to meet with the factory workers Monday morning. After leaving the intimate campaigning of Iowa behind in exchange for orchestrated events and similar to-the-syllable stump speeches, the press corps was eager for real voters (!) and genuinely interested to see how Edwards interacted with the people he says he understands better than any other candidate -- the people he says he will "lift up" and "embrace." Hard-working middle-class Americans who suffer from NAFTA and deserve a "president who believes in them."
It was not to be.
The majority of the press did not get any farther than a cup of coffee served from the deck in front of Prater's Barbecue. They ambled aimlessly outside avoiding the stale donuts offered in consolation. For conflicting reasons, the press was not allowed in the closed-door meeting between Edwards and the Morrison workers. While some of those interviewed said they did not mind, others understandably were not partial to the idea of the media listening in on what they hoped to be a private conversation with a man they might consider voting for the Democratic nomination in Tennessee on Tuesday.
As a grumbling press corps made its way to Hair Force One for the quick flight to Norfolk, Va., it was noted that the press bus passed the Battleship Wisconsin (while driving down "Bousch Street" no less). The campaign would likely get there sooner rather than later, having for all intents and purposes conceded a second place finish. If Edwards pulls anything else off in either Tennessee or Virginia, it will be considered a huge victory, no doubt spun as a come-from-behind triumph over media momentum.
Already the campaign has taken pre-emptive measures and scheduled a 6:00 pm ET departure for Milwaukee, Wis., in order to fit in an evening event to kick off a two-day tour of duty. Edwards will make only one public appearance at a polling station in Virginia in the early in the morning before retreating to closed-door meetings and down-time before wheels up to Wisconsin. The march toward Feb. 17 has begun.
Read more from the trail with Edwards on abcnews.com: LINK
Jodi Wilgoren of the New York Times writes that Dean says he is stayin' now, even if he loses Wisconsin. The candidate himself acknowledges this is an "'obvious contradiction'" from his earlier email message to supporters. And check out this graph sure to please new agers: "Dr. Dean said he 'was unaware of making this decision' before announcing it. He explained that he often let choices 'incubate unconsciously for a long time before I actually make a formal decision.'" LINK
The Los Angeles Times on the Dean "contradiction," capturing the Gov's statement that "'I don't think this is a responsible time to leave the playing field.'" And he wants folks to "'take a look at Sen. Edwards, for example; let's give people a chance to see if they think he's a more viable candidate.'" Note the "analysis of broadcast television advertising" which shows Kerry has "outspent Edwards and Clark by a wide margin in Virginia as today's primary approached." LINK
The Washington Post's Paul Farhi churns out a barn burner that details former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi's advertising decisions and questions whether the dual role he played in the campaign presented a conflict of interest. LINK
And more Trippi...
Joe Trippi says it actually cost him money to work for People-Powered Howard's campaign! And he offers the Los Angeles Times some interesting nuggets on what he might do next and the biggest mistake he thinks he made as manager: going up early with ads. LINK
Read more from the trail with Dean on abcnews.com: LINK
Salon's Farhad Manjoo wonders how Wes Clark lobbied for one of the world's "biggest snooping operation"s of all time in a piece that takes a very long look at Acxiom. LINK
Read more from the trail with Clark on abcnews.com: LINK
The land of 5-plus-2-equals-7:
USA Today's ed board doesn't like what's going on out there. LINK
The politics of campaign finance:
The New York Times' Justice on the new push for really young donors now that the Supreme Court has struck down the ban on donations from those under 18. "Family bundling" is returning to vogue. LINK
Big casino budget politics:
Patrice Hill of the Washington Times writes up President Bush's proposal to add $1 trillion to the national debt to pay for partially privatizing Social Security. LINK
Shall we say hello once more to our old friend the line item veto? Perhaps, says the Hill. And Josh Bolten says White House lawyers think this could pass constitutional muster as the President seeks to rein in spending. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's editorial board says the only good thing it can find to say about the newest highway spending bill is that President Bush seems poised to reject it.
The politics of national security:
The Wall Street Journal covers the questions about the President's 2002 SOTU statement on nuclear terror plans coming from Afghanistan.
Union leaders object to changes made at the Pentagon by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. LINK
The Washington Post's editorial board thinks that what became of the chemical and biological arms that Iraq was known to possess is the most important unanswered question involving Iraq right now. LINK
The politics of gay marriage:
The Boston Globe's Pat Healy explains how Kerry is walking a careful line on the issue. LINK
The Boston Globe's Lewis and Phillips report on the legislative issues being worked out at the constitutional convention in Boston. LINK
And the Globe's Rick Klein reports on how state politicians are feeling the heat on the issue by advocacy groups on both sides. LINK
And the Globe's Michael Paulson reports on how black clergy have intensified the debate by saying it's not a civil rights issue. LINK
The politics of the judiciary:
Senate Democrats said yesterday that hacking of Democratic computer files on judicial nominations could turn into a criminal probe. LINK
The Hill reports the Senate Judiciary Committee's Dems are looking for charges in their own leak investigation. LINK
The Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms say they won't convene in Gotham now that a local official has called legislation proposed by the NRA "'reprehensible,'" reports the New York Post. LINK
AP reports that former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley officially kicked off his campaign to succeed Sen. Fritz Hollings on Monday, pushing tort reform, fixes to trade policy, making permanent the Bush tax cuts, and a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. LINK
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ABC 2004: The Campaign Bus Logs:
As the campaigns go national, so do our campaign buses. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at their daily logs.
From ABC News Blue Bus producer Michael Kreisel, in Nash-Vegas, Tenn.:
THE "ARE YOU KIDDING ME" QUOTE OF THE DAY: "My family calls me Johnny T on account of the way I walk." -- Unnamed satellite engineer whose name is neither John nor Travolta
OVERHEARD DURING BLUE BUS CHECK IN AT NASHVILLE HOTEL: "Can you please not put me in a room near my colleagues, I am really sick of them…(5 second pause). Hey, what time do you want to meet for dinner?"-- Unnamed Bus Producer